Aiden Mwamuka was a Zimbabwean businessman in the retail industry who was a teacher turned tycoon.
He was born in 1909 and managed to attend primary school up to Standard 6. He trained as a teacher at St Adam’s College in South Africa. After having returned to Zimbabwe around 1933, he first taught at Domboshawa Industrial School and then became a headmaster at one of the schools in Highfield.
It was in 1952, however, when he decided to trade the chalk for a fling with the business world, that Mr Mwamuka’s path was set. After opening up his first shop, a small room measuring 3×6 metres, with stock valued at less than 200 pounds, he successfully launched his business empire. A grocery shop complete with a snack bar was subsequently opened in Highfield. The authorities also gave him a licence to sell spirits. A petrol station followed.
In 1962 he had the enterprise registered as a private company. It is believed that by the end of the 1960s, Mwamuka owned eight shops. Seven others were in the process of completion. He only managed some of them, with the rest being rented out to other businessmen. However, the responsibilities of running the businesses, which he solely shouldered, eventually took a toll on him.
Before his demise in 1972, Mr Mwamuka had become the chairman of the Southern Rhodesia Chamber of Commerce, an organisation of small black retailers and businessmen. After his death Paul, his son, took over. Paul had studied business administration in London.
“He started services which you could get in town but not in Highfield. For instance, if you bought your bread in Highfield it was not wrapped up. He felt this was just not on. If you wanted to buy your mealie-meal, you went to the shop with a container and your mealie-meal was dished out from a bag. It was not even measured on scales or anything like that. He started pre-packing the mealie-meal in bags. He actually thought no black man had seriously gone into retailing. He also started house-to-house deliveries. He had two people doing deliveries on bicycles. And eventually he had an old car, a small Austin sedan, and later a van to do the deliveries. In a way, he was pioneering higher standards of service” – Paul Mwamuka (his son).
- Darlington Musarurwa, , The Sunday Mail, Published: 12 April, 2015, Accessed: 14 July, 2020